Chapter 1—Another Accident
"Now, where's Mac--"
"NEVER SAY HIS NAME!" Andre and Firmin shouted.
"Sorry," Raoul said, taken aback. He had forgotten about that silly superstition. "I mean, where's the Scot?"
"That's better," Andre said, Firmin sighing in relief. "Heaven knows we don't need or want any more accidents."
Raoul blinked, finding it somewhat ironic that not long after the incident of the Phantom of the Opera, they had decided to produce the one play that was known among the theatre world as 'cursed', and had a reputation for accidents.
"And why," he asked, crossing his arms, "may I ask, is it so wrong to say the name?"
"He was evil!" Firmin cried, dramatically emphasizing heavily the last syllable of the word with a hand motion and a lingering stress.
"Yes. And so was his wife. If you say his name, you will upset the gods of the theatre--"
"Heaven knows you don't want to upset them," Firmin said, looking up in slight trepidation, almost as if the "theatre gods" were up in the rafters.
"The gods of the theatre," Raoul repeated skeptically.
"Yes. Don't question their power," Andre retorted. "If you insult them, the next accident will happen to you!"
Raoul rolled his eyes. "Right. Well, if you need me, I'm searching for Mac--"
"NO!!!!!" Andre and Firmin shouted, clamping their hands forcibly over his mouth.
Raoul pried their hands off of his face with much effort and smacked them away (it was necessary force, for as soon as he pried them off they were trying to get back on him).
"Fine! I won't say the name! But I'm looking for him. I hadn't been able to congratulate him properly on getting the lead as of yet. You haven't seen him, have you?"
Andre and Firmin shook their heads violently.
"Odd," Raoul said, and continued his search.
Once he was gone, Andre and Firmin gave each other a look that plainly said, "he'll be the next one".
Christine Daae was sitting before her vanity. She had a lesser role in the Scottish Opera, as Andre and Firmin insisted on everyone calling it; she was Lady Macduff. She didn't have much of a part, but it was at least a step up from the chorus. Carlotta, of course, was Lady Macbeth. The Phantom, ever since the night of Don Juan Triumphant not too long ago, had not disturbed the Opera Populaire, and many thought he had either died or vanished (he was a Ghost, after all). Therefore, Andre and Firmin thought it was again safe to cast Carlotta as the lead; however, Christine knew something more than everyone else, though she had not told anyone. She couldn't. At least, she thought so.
She heard a knock on the door behind her, and she jumped a little in surprise.
"Come in," she said, her chain of thought disrupted.
The door lightly creaked open behind her.
"Christine," Raoul said, entering the room, "have you seen Macbeth?"
"No!!!!!!!" they heard faintly off in the distance.
Christine and Raoul rolled their eyes at the same time. They then smiled.
"No, I'm afraid I haven't seen him since last night."
"Last night?" Raoul asked, frowning, a slight feeling of jealousy rising in him.
"At rehearsal," Christine clarified.
"Ah," he said, a look of relief on his face.
The two remained in silence for a little while. Christine sighed.
"It's horrible about what happened to Rosalyn."
"Rosalyn," Christine repeated. "The accident?"
"Oh, yes, right," Raoul said, recalling. "She was such a nice girl, too. Didn't she have a fiancé?"
"Yes. She had one, before she came, at least. He died, though. That poor girl... she wasn't complaining, though; she accepted what fate threw her way."
"Fate. Is there anything non-mythological about theatre?"
"No!" said two voices in the distance. Raoul rolled his eyes and Christine giggled.
"Andre and Firmin are ridiculous," he commented.
Raoul looked into her eyes. Surprisingly to him, though, they seemed shielded, and were not open as they usually were.
"Christine," he asked, closing the door gently behind him and lowering his voice.
"Yes, Raoul?" she said, a shadow of hidden dread unconsciously falling on her otherwise calm features. Raoul felt somewhat guilty for bringing up such an uncomfortable subject again. He often feared to, for several reasons, one being that Christine tended to dwell on this a little too much to his liking, and she was now engaged to him.
"Have you seen your angel of music again?"
She, already pale from the cold, grew paler, but Raoul knew that underneath that paling, underneath that false notion of strength, was a whole ocean of fear, misgiving, and doubt.
"Perhaps," she said quietly, picking up a hair brush and fidgeting with it, not looking in his eyes. This was unusual for her, even if they were talking about him.
"Christine, what's wrong?"
She shook her head and looked away, mumbling something under her breath. Raoul frowned.
"It's not like you to hide things from me. Remember; we are going to get married once this play is over. He gave us his blessing. Don't you recall?"
"Yes," she said distantly.
Raoul was now worried. "Christine, won't you tell me? Am I not going to be your husband?"
Christine looked into him, her glass shield shattering into tears, which were trying too hard to restrain themselves from falling.
"Oh, Raoul," she said, finally letting her tears fall. He was quick to offer her love and support. Her body tensed and loosened at the same time as he did so.
"Christine," he said, holding her, "oh, Christine, what is bothering you? Why are you so far away?"
"I cannot say, for it is horrible, much more horrible than I have ever dreamed!" She shuddered.
Those words alarmed Raoul. "More horrible? What has he done to you?"
"Not to me, Raoul," she said, looking fearfully and frantically into his eyes. "To Rosalyn. To Henry. To Frances."
Raoul opened his eyes wide with realization, and in fear for the state Christine was in. He had never seen her so afraid in his entire life. "Is he behind all the accidents?"
"No, Raoul," she said, shaking her head.
Raoul frowned, bewildered by her answer. "I don't quite understand; if he did not kill them, how did he wrong them?"
"Raoul, I—can't explain," she said, now speaking more to herself than to him. "He is not himself. He has no control over himself. When he comes to me, it almost seems as though he's trying to run from something, and I don't know what it is, but," she looked desperately into Raoul's eyes, trying as much to understand as to help him understand, "Raoul, something has taken over him, and whatever it is, is something so dark, so sinister... so evil... I can't speak of it! I feel its presence with him! And... and.."
She stared blankly ahead. Raoul was very worried now, and clutched her tightly in his arms.
"Christine! Christine! Tell me! What is it?"
She took in a sudden breath, as though she hadn't been breathing before, and looked into Raoul's eyes, a strange calm suddenly overcoming her. "I cannot say," she said, her voice quiet and mysterious. "I've said too much as it is. But if you wish to know..."
She glanced at the mirror as she leaned in and whispered almost too softly into his ear, "He comes at seven. No sooner, no later. And only for a few minutes. I am afraid I can't say more; I can't explain. I know I can't make this sound rational. You must be there to know. And if you do come, don't let him know you are there."
She sat back and looked at the mirror once more. Her mind was distant, a fog Raoul once thought he could decipher without problem. Now, she was closed to him, an unsolvable puzzle, and nothing was too perfectly clear. Raoul tried to study her fidgety, shy hands, her clear eyes that hid so much behind them, which were not as they naturally were, and her too erect stature, but found no answers that could clue him in to what might have been so horrible that she could not find the words to speak.
He once again felt inadequate to help her, and felt ashamed for being so. He had felt inadequate too long. He thought that once Erik had gone away, she would be of a free mind once more, and could finally be his. How wrong he found he was. She was always there with him, even when she was with him. He had stolen her from him. It was as Erik said, "either way you choose, you cannot win!" Those words mocked him with their bitter truth. He had won Christine, but he didn't win all of her. He found that Erik and Christine had an unbreakable bond between them, one he could not ever hope to dispel, no matter how hard he tried (and he had tried in multiple ways to break it, each time without success). Whatever Christine sensed from Erik, Raoul would not understand, no matter how many times he tried his intellect (and he tried it many times), nor did he truly want to understand Erik. He was his enemy. And this time again, he felt inadequate to comprehend Christine and her bond with Erik. Would he, even if he came, understand what exactly was going on inside of Erik that Christine so strongly knew? How could he protect her from a man who was like a ghost, who vanished and appeared so mysteriously and instantly, he was not able to be found, whose mind was so unknown to the world, that only Christine could understand?
A small, reluctant question always surfaced when he thought of Erik, as it did now: did Christine even want to be saved? Raoul wasn't sure Christine was certain what she wanted, which was one of the reasons he postponed the wedding to after the performance of Macbeth.
Suddenly, Christine frowned, and stood up, waking Raoul out of his weary thoughts.
"I do believe Andre and Firmin are calling," she said.
Raoul strained his ears to hear. She was right. He heard the managers approaching hurriedly, frantically calling Christine's name.
"Christine!" said one of the managers, pounding on the door outside the dressing room. "Christine, come out!"
"I'm coming," she said, opening the door. Andre and Firmin looked utterly pale. There was a lot of commotion coming from the stage. She paled even more. "What happened?"
"Another accident," Firmin said, looking down and very sorry.
Andre finished the thought for him, appearing as though he might have a mental breakdown, as though he couldn't handle the news himself, let alone give it to another. "Meg Giry may not live through the night. Come quickly; she requests to see you."
A/N: Curious about what happened to Erik? You'll learn about it next chapter. What happened to Meg's going to be hanging a little while longer... (evil Phantom laugh) I'll get back to her in either chapter 3 or 4, trust me. Um, read and review, people... common courtesy.
Songstressgirl07- congrats! You won my contest (you were the only one who reviewed). Yeah, I was equally confounded by Walpurgis Night, but I liked Faust. I figured it was a natural combo, Phantom and Faust, so I decided to combine them through the happy medium of Shakespeare. You'll appear in either 3 or 4; I haven't written it all yet, so just be patient! I have school and other stuff I must attend to, so I might not write it until I get some things done.